Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Author Bernard Cornwell, whose Saxon Stories have given birth to the BBC2 muddy medieval melodrama, The Last Kingdom, believes it has been recommissioned.

He's a solo voice so far on this news. If it's true, it will be entertaining to find out where the decision was made - on the commissioning floor of  Broadcasting House; at Television Centre, in the offices of BBC Worldwide; or in the Pennsylvania Plaza offices of AMC, operators of BBC America ?

In the UK, the eight episodes of Series 1 averaged 1.6m in the overnights. You can probably add 200k on catch-up. That places it in the range of other BBC2 blockbusters such as Celebrity Antiques Road Show and Strictly Come Dancing Takes Two. You can have all sorts of Original British Drama, it seems, as long as the Americans like it too.
  • Naming the characters in The Last Kingdom must have been fun. As well as our hero Uhtred, we have Aelswith, Mildrith, Guthrum, Odda and Ubba. Sellar and Yeatman's history book, "1066 and All That", mined the same vein in 1930. Some of the chapters were followed by a prompting quiz to reinforce learning, e.g.
     8) Have you the faintest recollection of

  1.  Ethelbreth? 
  2.  Athelthral? 
  3.  Thruthelthrolth?

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